It has been a great year for Asian American poetry. Diana Khoi Nguyen’s Ghost of (Omnidawn) and Jenny Xie’s Eye Level (Graywolf), both gorgeous debuts I’ve been recommending to everyone, were finalists for the National Book Award for Poetry. Many more have been included on the year’s “Best Of” lists. There are so many books I loved that were released this year, but I’ve compiled a handful of my favorites. Happy Reading!


Autobiography of Death by Kim Hyesoon (trans. By Don Mee Choi) (New Directions). Kim Hyesoon is a critically acclaimed Korean poet whose work has influenced younger generations of feminist writers in South Korea.

The brilliant Don Mee Choi has been translating her work into English for years. In her translator’s note, Choi writes: “Each of the forty-nine poems in Autobiography of Death represents one of the forty-nine days during which the spirit roams about after death, before it enters the cycle of reincarnation.”

She also writes that Kim wrote these poems because of the 250 high school students who died unjustly in the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster. These poems are utterly haunting and worth every moment you spend with them.

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